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7 Simple Ways To Add Humidity To Wood-Burning Homes

7 Simple Ways To Add Humidity To Wood-Burning Homes

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I have a cabin in Michigan that’s heated with two wood-burning stoves. A wood-burning cookstove in the kitchen and a wood-burning box-stove in the living room. Between the two of them, they keep the cabin toasty and warm in the winter, but they also produce a very dry heat that affects all of us in the house. Our skin is very dry, we have dry eyes and both my son, and I often get bloody noses from the dry heat. We could use a plug-in humidifier, but I prefer off-grid solutions and have come up with a number of them over the years. Here are some of the best solutions I’ve found to keep some humidity in the house:

The towel over a “T”

This may be the best solution I’ve found, It starts with a 5-gallon bucket with a “T” made from some 1 x 2s. The bottom of the “T” is screwed together to the bottom of an upright 2 x 1 and held to the bottom with a couple of bricks.

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The top of the 2 x 1 extends about 8-inches above the top of the bucket and a T is screwed into place. The bucket is filled with about four gallons of water and a towel is extended over the top of the “T” to act as a wick. This will evaporate water into the surrounding air for hours if not days.

Indoor clotheslines

We have a washing machine in our cabin, but no clothes dryer. We depend on clotheslines in summer, but winter is another story. The below freezing air will actually dry the clothes but they come in hard as a board and a bit frosty. Our off-grid solution was to hang clotheslines in the back porch, front porch and even across the dining room. This assumed we didn’t have company coming. The dry heat dried the clothes quickly and we had the added benefit of great humidity in the house. The result is we do a lot of laundry in the winter.

Sponge in a bowl

I use this solution in smaller spaces. It’s a large sponge in a bowl of water that is halfway filled with water to allow the sponge to rise above the waterline and act like a wick. It aerates the surrounding air and provides a good amount of moisture to a small space at least overnight.

Tea kettle

This one’s a no-brainer but you probably want to lift the tea whistle off the kettle. It’s as simple as humidifying a room with steam. The steam will boil away, but a simply refill will keep it going as the kettle rests on your word-burning stove. It also makes a quick cup of tea a snap.

Shower early and often

A hot shower will fill the bathroom with steam. Leave the door open when you’re done, and the steam will quickly find its way into a dry environment. Of course, this is perhaps an on-grid solution because you need a water heater to get sufficiently hot water.

Water in a pan

This is simple and perhaps obvious, but a large pan or bowl filled with water will rapidly evaporate into a dry environment. It’s easy to refill and can be placed in various rooms where the heat is exceptionally dry.

Indoor plants

Plants require water which will evaporate from the pot and the plants themselves transpire water and moisture into the air. The bigger the plant, the better, but keep them watered well. A dry environment is not friendly to most plants. In fact, you may have to mist them but that helps too with the humidity.


How do you add humidity to the air? Share your solutions in the section below: 

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  1. Even off grid can have electrical, and if so there may be clothes dryers. If the heat setting is put to its lowest, and the dryer run till sensed dry, the moisture released will not make it steamy. This is especially useful in more northern climes, where it gets so cold there is no moisture in the air and you need all you can get.

  2. We supplement heat with kerosene, and keep a pot of water on top of it, adding cinnamon sticks, mulling spice, bay leaf, citrus fruit, whatever we have handy. When I had a gas stove, I did the same. You can also create an ongoing pot of bone broth…If you are lucky enough to have a wood stove, I would definitely keep the bone broth pot going…I also cook more soups and stews in the winter, helping to add some humidity to the air…Interesting tips, though!

  3. Using an electric or gas dryer is still an option. Rather than venting the humidity outdoors, simply allow the vent to exit into the house. The house stays just as humid, but you don’t have clothing and blankets hanging all over the house all the time.

  4. My 76 yo grandma has always kept a kettle of water on the stove as long as I can remember. Works great.

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